Arsenal fight back with a late winner, while Manchester United stumble in the season openers
by Nick D
Aug 17, 2014 6:50 PM EDT
Finally after the long wait the 2014-15 Premier League season has kicked off and what a start to the new season we have had.
Manchester United kicked off proceedings meeting Swansea City at Old Trafford under the guidance of their new manager Van Gaal. The last season saw United struggle and finish in 7th position after they parted ways with their long term leader Alex Ferguson and David Moyes took over the reigns. This season there is high expectations on the Club and Van Gaal will be looking to cement his name in the history books of the highly successful team and look to erase the poor season they endured.
Van Gaal looking to kick off United's season and erase last season's poor showing
Manchester United started off brightly with some strong passing and they weren't afraid to venture forward. They were also sporting a new look in the backline with the departures of Vidic and Ferdinand. Jones, Smalling, Blackett were in the back line, and Lingard and Herrera were also included in the starting lineup. An interesting choice by the Dutch manager who was still getting to know his team and the players. Swansea City too had changes in their lineup after the departures of Michu, Ngog, Davies and Vorm. They had acquired Fabianski in goal from Arsenal as well as Sigurdsson who had a good previous season with Tottenham. Manchester took the control early on but as Swansea settled down they started to pressure the home side. They pushed up high and did manage to disrupt the United game. Though they were let down by some poor short passing and also did give away possession rather cheaply. A big blow to United saw the youngster Lingard be subbed off after a hard tackle that saw his right leg take a strong hit and Januzaj was brought on. The young Belgian had impressed last season and also had a good showing for his country in the recent World Cup. Fabianski would play well early on and deny United with a few good saves though the shots weren't as threatening, with mainly Rooney having a strong chance with a header from close range but the ball would bounce directly into the keepers hands.
Then Swansea City would disrupt the debut of Van Gaal and look to wrote their own story in the pages of the Premier League history books. After a good spell by United Swansea settled the game down abd with some good passing from inside their own half they managed to build the play up and find their way into United's defensive half. Sigurdsson would draw the defenders as he cut across the box and would feed the ball to the unmarked Ki who slotted the ball into the bottom right corner. 1-0 and Old Trafford was stunned into silence and all you could hear was the chants of the Welsh fateful. The half played out and as the teams entered the locker rooms for the break, there were worried looks on the faces of United's fans.
Ki broke the deadlock and pushed Swansea into the lead after 28 minutes of action
The second half saw a valiant effort by the home side as they came out strong and looked to level the match up. Nani was brought on for Hernandez as the half kicked off and Van Gaal was looking to expand his attacking options and look to Nani to explode down the left wing. The change would work as United would draw level in the 53rd minute through a Wayne Rooney strike. The corner was whipped in towards the near post by Herrera, Jones would head the ball onto the back post, where Rooney would meet it and bicycle kick the ball into the net from close range. United then piled on the pressure as they surged forward and looked to turn the game around. Though it would once again be Swansea who would silence the crowd. Despite all the possession and the pressure by United, it would be Sigurdsson who would steal the headlines as he fired the Welsh side back into the lead. A quick free kick saw Montero break down the left side and make his way into the box. He crossed the ball towards the back post where Routledge was waiting. He slipped but managed to square the ball across the face of goal and Sigurdsson fired under the keeper to give Swansea the lead and secure all three points. Van Gaal now needed to go back to the drawing board as Manchester United suffered their first loss at the start of the season since 1972.
Sigurdsson's 72nd minute goal was enough to seal a 2-1 away win for Swansea City
Arsenal kicked off their season with a slow start but did manage to secure all three points after a late goal against a manager-less Crystal Palace side. Alexis Sanchez would make his Premier League debut and did impress, especially with his link up plays with Jack Wilshire. The Chilean forward continued on his fine form from the World Cup and if he continues to play as he did today then the Arsenal fans are in for a treat for the rest of the season. Wenger also included Sanogo into the line up giving the youngster his first EPL start. Arsenal dominated the possession but were stunned to find themselves a goal down after 35 minutes. Palace would counter attack and almost managed to take the lead after Szczesny came out and cleared the ball directly to Chamakh. He would try for the long shot on the open goal but Koscielny was there to block it. Campbell would keep the attack going and eventually win the corner for Palace. The corner was played towards the near post and Hangeland was left open and his glancing header would find the bottom left corner. Arsenal had over 70% of the possession and still were a goal down. Koscielny though would have the final say before the half time whistle as he drew the Gunners level in the 46th minute. Arsenal earned themselves a free kick and the new signing Sanchez would float the ball over the defence and find Koscielny who headed home from close range and bring the scoreline back on level terms.
The second half would see Arsenal continue their domination of the game and apply the pressure on the scrambling Palace defence. The Gunners would strive forward but just couldn't find a way through the crowded box in front of them. Attack after attack Arsenal pressed on but they could not break down the defensive line and manage a decent attempt at goal. Then with only minutes left to play Palace would give Arsenal the chance to take the win. Puncheon would earn his second yellow card and be given his marching orders as he left his team to fight it out with only 10 men. Arsenal pressured the defence and would finally be rewarded after having an almost 75% of the possession. The corner was whipped in and Palace scrambled to clear their lines. After the ball bounced around the box it landed to Debouchy who managed to get a foot to the ball and fire it at the goal. The shot though was directly at Speroni who did manage to block it but it fell to the feet of Ramsey you tapped in from a few yards out and sealed the win for the home side.
Aaron Ramsey scores in the 91st minute to give Arsenal the win against Crystal Palace
The other matches saw Aston Villa see off Stoke City 1-0. Hull City defeated QPR 1-0 and Tottenham Hotspur beat West Ham United 1-0. New comers Leicester City would draw with Everton 2-2, while West Bromwich Albion would also play out a 2-2 draw against Sunderland.